Inspired by history
Tradition has it that the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union provides its visitors with Presidency gifts. Continuing this ritual, Cyprus has relied on its own rich traditions and history in selecting the gifts of its EU Presidency. The gifts include silver brooches, bookmarks and small ceramic statues that depict figurines from the Early Bronze Age to the Cypro-Archaic period, designed by the Cyprus Handicraft Service.
Participants in the summits and meetings during the Cyprus Presidency will also receive seeds and leaves of Cypriot basil to take to their country, as well as a tie or a scarf.
Origins – Bronze Age Inspiration
The brooches and ceramic statues were inspired from particular ancient pieces and naturally, most gifts concern the bronze ages. The metal copper was abundant in Cyprus for about 2.850 years (3900 BC – 1050 BC), with the island being one of the richest copper producers during that period. In fact, in the Roman era, the metal was given the name cyprium (metal of Cyprus ) as it was extensively mined on Cyprus. It was copper that in the Late Bronze Age attracted the Mycenaeans/Acheans to settle on the island. Today, only one copper mine is in operation in Cyprus, in the village of Skouriotissa.
Ties and Scarves
As is customary, silk ties and scarves will be offered to visitors partaking in the various meetings and events organised by the Presidency. The ties and scarves, which have become an ever-present component and a hallmark of a Presidency gift set, incorporate the shape and colour of the sun on the backdrop of the horizon, where sky meets sea.
Taking a piece of Cyprus
A small pack with seeds and leaves of Cyprus basil will ensure that Cyprus finds its way into the visitors' homes. The idea behind the basil is a symbolic one, allowing for delegates to have a piece of Cyprus growing in their own countries.
Handmade silver brooches after original plank-shaped idols of Red Polished ware with incised decoration. The first one comes from the Early Bronze Age (2500 – 1900 Β.C.) and the second one was found at Vounous, Cyprus, from the third phase of the Early Bronze Age (2000 – 1900 B.C.).
Olive leaf brooch
Handmade silver brooch made of an imprint of real leaves from an olive tree. Since ancient times the olive tree was considered a holy tree. It is a symbol of peace, joy, hope and prosperity. Wreaths made out of olive branches were used as wedding wreaths, but also to crown the athletes.
Handmade silver bookmark after an original plank-shaped idol of Red Polished ware with incised decoration from Vounous, Cyprus (Early Bronze Age III, 2000 – 1900 B.C., Cyprus Museum, Lefkosia).
Terracota bell-shaped figurine of a warrior after an original of Cypro-Geometric period (1050 – 950 B.C., Cyprus Museum, Lefkosia).
Clay model of a ship with three seated human figurines and a dog after an original Cypro-Archaic period. (750 – 480 B. C., Cyprus Museum, Lefkosia).
Terracotta figurine of a bearded male after an original plank-shaped idol with painted linear motifs from Ayia Paraskeyi, Lefkosia, and terracotta figurine after an original plank-shaped idol, Red Polished ware with incised decoration from Akaki, Cyprus (Middle Bronze Age, 1900 – 1650 B.C.).
Terracotta bell-shaped idol of a female with raised arms after an original of Cypro-Geometric period (1050 -950 B.C.).
Terracotta female figurines after original plank-shaped of Red Polished ware with incised decoration (Middle Bronze Age, 1900 – 1650 B.C., Louvre Museum and private collection from Japan).
Zivania and Commandaria
Finally, the Presidency will offer to the visitors Cyprus ' traditional drinks. Zivania is a traditional cypriot distillate which is produced from pomaces, mixed with local dry white wines. Commandaria is a sweet red desert wine. Its production is documented in Cyprus from 800 B. C. but was intensified and systematized with its current name during the Frankish rule, when the production area belonged to Latin monastic orders (La Grande Commanderie).
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